Taking exception to the latest amendments to the Master Plan for Delhi-2021, allowing commercialisation of the entire ground floor in the city, the Supreme Court on Monday wondered if the government did not know about the need for these changes at the time of notifying the MPD-2021.
“There must be some fresh material which the government did not know at the time of notifying the MPD-2021,” a special bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat asked the Centre and asserted it can certainly look into the decision making process under its power of judicial review.
The bench asked the Centre, Delhi government, MCD and NDMC to respond to a plea by Delhi Pradesh Citizens’ Council (an NGO) challenging the latest 37 amendments to MPD-2021, including the one permitting commercial activity in the ground floor of a property. It will hear the matter on September 15.
In its application filed through counsel Jasbir Malik, the NGO contended the amendments would lead to chaos in Delhi.
The court’s observations came after senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court as Amicus Curiae, drew the court’s attention to the amendments, which allegedly destroyed the Master Plan by allowing a whole lot of commercialisation without augmenting the infrastructure.
He said the government’s August 12 decision to amend the Master Plan when the court was seized of petitions challenging its validity was not proper.
As Kumar complained that the MCD had almost stopped the sealing drive in the Capital, the court asked the MCD to respond to it.
Meanwhile, a high powered committee set up by the court on July 8 to find out the ways and means of decongesting Delhi by harmonising the provisions of the MPD-2021 and the National Capital Region Planning Board’s (NCRPB) Master Plan 2021, has submitted its report to the court.
The committee consisting of officials from NCRPB, NCT Delhi, DDA, MCD and NDMC besides Solicitor General GE Vahanvati and Ranjit Kumar and Union Urban Development Ministry Joint Secretary Kutty was entrusted with finding a solution to the “human problem”.
The committee is said to have pointed out that there was "total chaos" and grossly inadequate infrastructure in Delhi to meet the requirements of MPD 2021.
The bench, which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the MPD-2021, ordered copies of the report be given to Solicitor General GE Vahanavati, Delhi government, MCD, NDMC and NCRPB to prepare their response to it. The issue will be taken up for hearing on September 30 and October 1.